Scientists announce world’s smallest mammoth
Struggling to live up to its namesake, the Mammuthus creticus lived on the island of Crete as recently as 3.5 million years ago. Standing at just a meter tall (3 feet, for the Americans keeping score) at the shoulder, the mammoth would have been dwarfed by a modern baby elephant. The discovery was made when reexamining fossil teeth collected by fossil hunter Dorothea Bate in 1904, which led modern researchers back to Crete and to further archaeological evidence. That a dwarf species existed on an isolated island should not be surprising; dwarfism is a common evolutionary adaptation that large animals undergo in an island setting.